Id System Never Forgets A Face
In Jefferson County, Ala., a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Justice has helped equip the county jails in Bessemer and Birmingham with biometric technology that compares inmate photographs with the nearly 500,000 photos of suspects and former inmates stored in a database.
Inmates have their pictures taken in the pre-booking area, and the photo is compared with those in the database to see if the inmate has served time behind bars in the past.
Numerous photos are taken after booking, taking care that identifying marks are documented. When the inmate is released, a final photo is taken and compared to the first two to ensure that the right person is set free.
The technology has also been used to identify suspects caught on surveillance videos, and it has even identified visitors–whose pictures are also taken and compared to the database–as criminals with outstanding warrants.
Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale hopes the biometric systems can be installed in patrol cars and the county courthouse in the future.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Birmingham News (AL) (04/20/06) Vol. 119, No. 38, P. 1A; Robinson, Carol .